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The Racer Reading List

This is a list of books that we've found useful here at Racer. We don't sell them or have any affiliation with the publishers or authors; they're just publications we happen to use.

Many libraries have an excellent selection of music industry books. We strongly encourage you to start with the books you find at your local library. They'll give you an idea of what's out there.

If you find a book you'd like to own, try your local booksellers, or call Mix Bookshelf (1-800-233-9604). Racer is not affiliated with Mix Bookshelf in any way, but they do seem to carry a huge selection of music books.

  • How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording, by Diane Sward Rapaport (Jerome Headlands Press)

    Often considered THE reference for releasing your own album, this book covers sales & promotion, artwork, manufacturing, recording, and legal issues. Even if you're looking for a recording contract, this will give you an excellent, personal overview of what's involved in creating a recording. One of the books I recommend most often. You can reach the author at JHPress@sedona.net.

  • All You Need To Know About the Music Business, by Donald Passman (Prentice Hall Press)

    An excellent overview of the industry, covering the people involved (managers, agents, attorneys), the details of record deals, music publishing, touring, and merchandising. It's written in a conversational, easy-to-read style, and is one of the books I recommend most often.

  • This Business of Music, by Sidney Shemel and M. William Krasilovsky (Billboard Books)

    This is a highly technical legal reference, which you're more likely to see in an attorney's office than on a musician's desk. This has the complete legal lowdown on recording contracts, copyright issues, music labor law, licensing issues, bootlegging, payola, music publishing, trademarks, and any other legal issue you can think of in the music industry. It includes sample forms and contracts, including a copyright registration form, a recording contract, ASCAP and BMI forms, and a mechanical license. This book provided me with a starting point for my own recording contract and mechanical license agreement.

  • Musicians Guide to Touring and Promotion (available through Musician Magazine)

    This magazine-size publication lists major record companies, and then goes city by city listing clubs, radio stations, local press, and other useful organizations, such as local chapters of Lawyers for the Arts and local instrument repair shops. I've made heavy use of this in planning regional promotions. It would probably be extremely useful to musicians putting together a tour.

  • Music Publishing: A Songwriter's Guide, by Randy Poe (Writer's Digest Books)

    This book covers publishing and copyright law, songwriting royalties, the structure of publishing companies, and how to start your own publishing company.

  • The Recording Industry Sourcebook

    This enormous reference contains listings for record labels, CD manufacturers and tape duplicators, music publishers, record pools, independent distributors, recording studios, record promoters, and tons of other stuff.


This page was last updated on March 3, 2004 by Kristi Wachter.